By | John Rampton | www.entrepreneur.com
If you’re in a leadership position, you will have to assemble a team of diverse personalities and skillsets. Even if you’re flying solo, you may have to work with freelancers or contractors occasionally.
Regardless of your exact situation, if there’s a weak link, that definitely can cause bottlenecks and hamper productivity. Even worse? It can damage morale, as 47% of employees have stated that lazy employees are their No. 1 pet peeve.
Thankfully, there are ways to address this situation before it festers into something worse.
1. Address the solution before the problem occurs
As Sun Tzu wrote in The Art of War, “The greatest victory is that which requires no battle.” In other words, make sure that this wasn’t an issue on your end when assigning projects. At the minimum, this should include:
- Knowing their workload. Before assigning anything, check in with everyone to ensure that they have the availability or what their schedules look like.
- Setting clear, specific expectations. To minimize confusion, clearly communicate what you want. Also, double-check that they are aware of action items upfront.
- Eliminating potential roadblocks and hurdles. Ask them if anything is holding them back from completing their work. For example, if they are using outdated software, make sure it’s updated.
- Dividing large assignments into smaller ones. “Breaking it down into smaller parts can help people that struggle with procrastination to feel a greater sense of urgency and to follow through in a more timely manner,” Elizabeth Grace Saunders told HBR. Moreover, research shows that small wins help keep employees motivated.
- Giving reasonable deadlines with priorities. It’s 4 p.m., and you ask a team member if they can have a last-minute task for you first thing in the morning. That’s unreasonable. Assign realistic timeframes and make sure that they know which items to focus on first.